I decided to keep track of the books I’m reading or listening to here. I listen to books while I cook or clean, so often I’m reading one and listening to another at the same time.
I meant to keep this list private! But since I published the page by accident, I figured I’d leave it up, put it on the menu, and make it prettier 🙂
HEA = Happily Ever After
HFN = Happy For Now
*** ALL COMMENTS ARE MY PERSONAL OPINION ***
Disclosure: Okay, I’m cheating a little. I started the first two in December 2017, but I was only about half-way through both of these on January 1, 2018, so I’m counting them for my 2018 book count.
1. The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver
I love mysteries, suspense, and police procedurals. I read somewhere about Kathryn Dance’s specialty – kinesics (reading body language) and I hoped this book would be fascinating. I was not disappointed. I bought the second in the Kathryn Dance series once I got to the last page.
A touch of romance, but no HEA.
Note: Violence, off- and on-page.
Blurb: When Special Agent Kathryn Dance — a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation — is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel “Son of Manson” Pell as a suspect in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the wealthy Croyton family in Carmel years earlier — a crime mirroring those perpetrated by Charles Manson in the 1960s. But Pell and his cult members were sloppy: Not only were they apprehended, they even left behind a survivor — the youngest of the Croyton daughters, who, because she was in bed hidden by her toys that terrible night, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll.
But the girl never spoke about that night, nor did the crime’s mastermind. Indeed, Pell has long been both reticent and unrepentant about the crime. And so with the murderer transported from the Capitola superprison to an interrogation room in the Monterey County Courthouse, Dance sees an opportunity to pry a confession from him for the recent murder — and to learn more about the depraved mind of this career criminal who considers himself a master of control, a dark Svengali, forcing people to do what they otherwise would never conceive of doing. In an electrifying psychological jousting match, Dance calls up all her skills as an interrogator and kinesics — body language — expert to get to the truth behind Daniel Pell.
But when Dance’s plan goes terribly wrong and Pell escapes, leaving behind a trail of dead and injured, she finds herself in charge of her first-ever manhunt. But far from simply fleeing, Pell turns on his pursuers — and other innocents — for reasons Dance and her colleagues can’t discern. As the idyllic Monterey Peninsula is paralyzed by the elusive killer, Dance turns to the past to find the truth about what Daniel Pell is really up to. She tracks down the now teenage Sleeping Doll to learn what really happened that night, and she arranges a reunion of three women who were in his cult at the time of the killings. The lies of the past and the evasions of the present boil up under the relentless probing of Kathryn Dance, but will the truth about Daniel Pell emerge in time to stop him from killing again?
2. The Rise of Miss Nottley by Rachael Anderson, narrated by Helen Taylor
I listened to this on audiobook. I love Rachael Anderson and Regency, but really, how I found this book was while doing a search for Helen Taylor, who is one of my favorite narrators. A fantastic combination.
HEA, Clean Romance
Blurb: When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow. The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?
3. You Say it First by Susan Mallery
Actually, I’m giving it 3.5, but rounding it up to a 4.
On January 1st, I decided to buy a few of the Amazon’s top-twenty Best Romances of 2017 to see what’s popular and to see what’s different about these books that boosted them to the top.
This was a “small town romance” I chose of the top 20 on Amazon for 2017.
I enjoyed the overall story, the characters were great — main characters and supporting cast– but I thought a few places in the story dragged. In fact, I had to force myself to keep reading at least 3 times, but I was glad I did.
Note: Sexual content
Blurb: Sculptor Nick Mitchell grew up in a family of artists and learned from his volatile father that passion only leads to pain. As he waits on a new commission, he takes a day job as a humble carpenter at a theme wedding venue. The job has its perks—mainly the venue’s captivating owner, Pallas Saunders.
Pallas adores Weddings in a Box. But if she can’t turn the floundering business around, she’ll have no choice but to cave to her domineering mother and work at the family’s bank. Then when a desperate bride begs Pallas for something completely out of the box, her irresistible new hire inspires her. Nick knows she doesn’t belong behind a desk, and she knows in her heart that he’s right—where she really belongs is in his arms.
4. Serenity Harbor: A Heartwarming Small Town Romance (Haven Point) by ReaAnne Thayne
Another “small town romance” from the “top twenty romances” on Amazon for 2017. This story was very well written and had me interested every second. I didn’t want to put it down. I’ll be buying the first of this series, and I already expect I’ll enjoy it so much that I’ll end up reading them all.
HEA, Clean Romance
Note: Milo, has autism, which was obviously well researched and thoughtfully presented. Kudos to the author.
Blurb: In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish—and one magical kiss—away…
Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there’s more to sexy, wary Bo than she’d ever realized.
Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there’s room in it for him, too…
5. The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
I grabbed this one only because I liked the blurb. A British woman travels to NY City during the Revolutionary War. A very entertaining “man has amnesia and woman tells everyone she’s married to him” story. It’s always tough to write these in a way that’s believable, but Julia Quinn does a great job of it. A fun read!
Note: Sexual Content
BLURB: While you were sleeping…
With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…
I told everyone I was your wife
When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out three months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.
If only it were true…
Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.